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What to Look for in a Climbing Partner

What to Look for in a Climbing Partner

Words by Brianne Schaer  (Instagram: @brianneschaer)

Finding a climbing partner can be difficult.  There are so many factors at play that it can seem impossible at times to find a match that’s going to work for you.  After all, you are essentially trusting this person with your life!  But don’t worry! It’s easier than it seems to find a good partner, and Sender One is here to help.

So what exactly should you look for in a climbing partner?  Your partner should be able to offer a good belay, prioritize safety, be reliable, and contribute to the relationship.  It is important to also take a moment to reflect on yourself to make sure you possess these qualities, so you can offer your partner as much as you’re asking of them.

Over time you’ll start to hone in on exactly what you’re looking for in a climbing partner, but for anyone just starting out or looking for their very first partner, here are a few questions to ask.


Can they offer a good belay?

This is possibly the most important question you should ask when looking for a new climbing partner.  Make sure your potential partner knows how to use their preferred belay device properly  (If you’re top rope climbing at Sender One, you and your partner will need to be comfortable with a gri-gri belay device).  Also note how attentive they are while belaying you.  Safety and minimizing risk should be your main priority here.  Don’t forget to always double checking each other before starting to climb.  It is always a good idea to feel out a person’s belay skills at the gym before heading outside.  This way, you can climb in a relatively controlled environment knowing that your partner has passed the gym’s belay certification test.


Do they prioritize safety?

Climbing is inherently dangerous and safety should always be the priority in any belaytionship.  There are a lot of things that could go wrong while climbing, so it is critical to always consider the safety implications at stake.  What started out as fun and games can quickly go south if you or your partner aren’t always working to minimize risk.  Remember to always perform partner checks to ensure the climber is tied in correctly, all equipment is in good shape, and the belayer is using their equipment properly.  If you will be climbing outdoors, it is worth considering taking a self-rescue course so you know what to do in case of an emergency.  Whether climbing inside or outside, never leave the ground if you suspect there may be any issues with your system.


Are they reliable?

You can’t form any kind of relationship with someone who doesn’t show up.  If the only thing your partner does consistently is show up late, then they may not be a good option as a reliable climbing partner.  Look for someone who keeps dates and shows up on time. Unless you’re also a bit unpredictable. 😉


How to find a partner at Sender One

Now that you know what to look for in a partner, here are some tips on how to find a partner at Sender One.  There are many ways you can find a partner, from attending meetups to joining a Facebook page.  Take advantage of all of them to find more climbing friends!


Attend Monday Night Meetups

Our Monday Night Meetup on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month at 7 PM!  An end of event raffle grants free gear to those who participate and win.  The event is free with a day pass or membership, and is a great opportunity to meet new climbing friends!


Join the Facebook Page

Can’t make it to Monday Night Meetup?  Feel free to join the Sender One community Facebook pages!  There is one for LAX and one for SNA.  You’ll find posts requesting partners, offers on upcoming classes (LAX, SNA) and events (LAX, SNA), and, if you’re lucky, beta for the best post-climb meal.


Sign up on the belay finder sheet

If you find yourself at the gym without a partner you can always sign the belay finder sheet at the front desk.  Make sure your request is noticed by asking the front desk staff to make a quick announcement that you’re looking for a partner!


Recruit a non-climber friend

If you’re the only climber in your friend group, you can take advantage of Sender One’s member guest passes to introduce a friend to the sport.  Your membership includes several benefits:

  • One guest pass per month for anyone (new to Sender One or not)
  • Member Guest Day: bring a friend to Sender One Climbing on the third Friday of each month (must be new to Sender One)
  • Every Day members can bring two first time rope climbers and sign them up for a free Intro to Climbing Class so they can learn how to properly belay, as well as tie the knots necessary for top rope climbing!


Just Come By the Gym!

The Sender One Climbing member community is full of friendly climbers welcome to lend a catch when needed!  You can always meet partners the old fashioned way by simply coming to the gym and bouldering, attending yoga classes, or any gym event!  Whether you’re a new climber, or just new to the area, you will have new climbing friends at Sender One Climbing in no time!



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Climbing After Rain | A Guide to Wet Rock

Climbing After Rain | A Guide to Wet Rock

It has been a pretty wet winter here in Southern California!  While we are headng into Spring, we are sure there are still some rainy days ahead!  With all this wet weather, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the common question: when is it okay to climb in/after the rain? 

The answer to this question really comes down to what type of rock you are hoping to climb, and is super important when it comes to taking care of our local crags, and leaving a minimal impact when we adventure outdoors.  Check it out! 


Sedimentary Rocks

Photo of sandstone at Calico Hills in Red Rock, Nevada (from


Sandstone is the beautiful, usually reddish in tone, rock found in places like Red Rock, Nevada and Indian Creek, Utah.  Sandstone is a sedimentary rock that absorbs moisture, therefore when it rains (or snows!), a lot of water ends up soaking into the rock.  As the rock’s surface gets wet, the cementing agents within the rock are weakened, therefore the rock itself loses a significant amount of strength.  This results in the rock breaking apart while wet, especially when put under the pressure of a hand or foot!  Unfortunately several routes at Red Rock have lost holds due to people climbing them before the rock was dry.  

A good way to tell if the rock is ready climb is to see if the ground is dry on the way to, and at the base of, the climb.  If the ground is still moist (not sandy and dry), then it is good to assume the rock is still wet, even if it seems dry on the surface!  Give it at least a good 24-36 hours (sometimes longer!) after rain before attempting to climb sandstone that has been wet!  If you’re ever unsure, don’t hesitate to ask local climbers or local climbing coalitions for their suggestions about climbing regarding recent weather.

Photo of conglomerate rock at Maple Canyon in Utah (from Mountain Project)

Conglomerate Rock

Conglomerate rock is a form of sedimentary rock that contains pebble- and cobble-sized clasts embedded within sediment.  This kind of rock is found in Maple Canyon, UT, and locally in Texas Canyon near Santa Clarita, CA.  As it is a sedimentary rock, it absorbs moisture much like sandstone, and should be avoided when wet.  Again, note your surroundings and take stock of the rock and ground conditions.  If the ground is wet, take a rest day! The rock will be there and ready for you to climb once it is dry! 


Igneous and Metamorphic Rock

Photo of granite at Joshua Tree National Park in CA(from Mountain Project)

These types of rock include granite, quartz, and volcanic rock.  These rocks are not very absorbent to moisture and are considered okay to climb when wet (though that rubber on your shoe may not stick as well!).  This means climbing wet rock in Joshua Tree National Park, or Holcomb Valley, will not impact the rock any differently than when climbing it while dry.  You may feel more slippery than usual, however, therefore caution should be used to minimize risk of injury. 


What do I do if it rains?

Sender One SNA (Santa Ana, CA)

Sender One LAX (Los Angeles, CA)

If your climbing plans have been soured by the rain, then take the opportunity to go for a drive, take a hike, explore someplace new, or come climb at Sender One Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness!  With locations in Santa Ana, and Los Angeles, our door is always open to provide your climbing fix, rain or shine! 

Five Bouldering Games to Spice Up your Next Session

Five Bouldering Games to Spice Up your Next Session

Words by Brianne Schaer (Instagram: @brianneschaer)
Images by Crystal Tan (Instagram: @madambackwords)

Bouldering games are a creative way to let loose and have some fun with your friends at the gym.  Games can create a fun and casually competitive environment where you can push yourself beyond just trying to climb at the next v-level.

Sender One has some of the best setters around, and while the bouldering area is full of engaging problems, sometimes you want to shake it up and play by your own rules, so grab some friends and read over this list of our favorite bouldering games to spice up your next session! 



Number of people: 2+

Rules: This game begins when the first climber selects two start holds and makes a single move.  The next climber must repeat the same move, and add another.  This process continues with each climber adding an extra move to the climb.  If you fall, you’re out!  The game ends once everyone has fallen, when someone tops out